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Vehicle rollovers: Understanding the reasons they occur

Motor vehicle accidents, in general, can be quite dangerous and often result in injury or death. When it comes to vehicle rollovers, though, they are known to be particularly dangerous due to their violent nature.

Rollover cases tend to be complex namely because a number of variables come into play. Among these considerations, questions arise about what type vehicle was the person driving, what were the road and weather conditions and how the driver was conducting him or herself.

In general, vehicles that tend to sit higher off the ground such as pickups, vans and SUVs, have a higher incident of rollover if involved in a single vehicle crash. Speed is often a factor as well in fatal versus non-fatal vehicle rollover crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 40 percent of fatal rollover crashes in recent years were the result of high speed. Nearly three-quarters of those cases were said to have taken place in 55 mph or over speed limit zones.

The presence of alcohol in someone's system, even amounts under the legal limit, can impair someone's ability to drive. That being said, alcohol is thought to play a significant role in almost half of fatal rollovers.

Rural areas tend to be the most dangerous since there are usually no dividers or barriers and speed limits reach as high as 55 mph or over. Those combination of factors are why almost three-quarters of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas.

Contrary to popular belief, fatal rollovers tend not to result from extraordinary circumstances. In fact, more than 90 percent of those accidents tend to take place under routine circumstances, including when someone is driving straight or making a standard turn.

They also include things situations in which a driver becomes distracted, is speeding, impaired, or not paying full attention to what they're doing. These different factors unfortunately tend to result in fatalities.

Unlike many other type of auto accidents, fatal rollovers generally involve just one vehicle. According to NHTSA data, almost 85 percent of fatal rollovers are one-car accidents. This suggests that driver error is the strongest contributing factor in those accidents.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an rollover accident resulting in significant injury and/or death, an experienced Texas personal injury attorney may be able to help guide you through this difficult time.

Source: Safercar.gov, "Rollover causes," accessed Jan. 25, 2017

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Brian Jensen

Representation in the Houston Area with 3 Convenient Locations:

Bellaire Office
Frost Bank Building, 6750 West Loop South, Suite 800
Bellaire, TX 77401

Toll Free: 877-297-7414
Phone: 832-460-3366
Fax: 713-665-6818
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Houston, TX 77002

Toll Free: 877-297-7414
Phone: 832-460-3366
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Houston, TX 77079

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